AMRITSAR: Finally after a grueling wait of over forty days owing to coronavirus lockdown , a group of 193 stranded Pakistani nationals including visitors and pilgrims are set to cross the international border on way to their homes in Pakistan on May 5.
A few of them had earlier made futile attempts to cross the border but had to return disappointed from Attari land border since both India and Pakistan had sealed their international borders in an attempt to contain the spread of virus.
However, Dammu Ravi, additional secretary, ministry of external affairs, in a notification informed that the high commission of Pakistan had requested for assistance for facilitating the movement of their nationals from different parts of the country to Pakistan via Attari crossing on May 5.
While talking to TOI from Ahemdabad, a Pakistani national Sher Bano said due to lockdown she had nowhere to go except to stay in a small house of a known person which she had to leave since the place was too cramped her children but then she had also lost her wallet and didn’t have any money . “At this time Indian government and Pakistan high commission extended a helping hand and arranged for a place to stay for me and my children” she said.
The Pakistani nationals including Hindus who are living in various parts of India including Ahmedabad, Raipur, Ferozpur, Mumbai, Gurugram etc are being brought to Attari international border from where they would be repatriated to their nation on May 5.
Visa of majority of Pakistani nationals had expired but was extended due to unprecedented conditions.
Another Pakistani pilgrim Alifiya Murtaza , resident of Karachi, informed that she had earlier arrived Attari on March 19 but was not allowed to cross the border. "We were left with no option but to return to Mumbai and since then we are staying here getting help from both Indian government and Pakistan high commission," she said.
Earlier as many as 48 Pakistani nationals were given special permission to cross the border during lockdown.